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Why Darwinism is False

Why Darwinism is False

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Published by: flowerofgarden on May 22, 2010
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09/26/2010

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WHY DARWINISM IS FALSEBy:Jonathan WellsDiscovery InstituteMay 18, 2009Jerry A. Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecologyand Evolution at The University of Chicago. In
Why Evolution isTrue
, he summarizes Darwinism—the modern theory of evolution—as follows: “Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with oneprimitive species—perhaps a self-replicating molecule—that livedmore than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time,throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanismfor most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection.”
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Coyne further explains that evolution “simply means that a speciesundergoes genetic change over time. That is, over many generations aspecies can evolve into something quite different, and those differencesare based on changes in the DNA, which originate as mutations. Thespecies of animals and plants living today weren’t around in the past, butare descended from those that lived earlier.”
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According to Coyne, however, “if evolution meant only gradualgenetic change within a species, we’d have only one species today—asingle highly evolved descendant of the first species. Yet we havemany… How does this diversity arise from one ancestral form?” It arises because of “splitting, or, more accurately, speciation,” which “simplymeans the evolution of different groups that can’t interbreed.”
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If Darwinian theory were true, “we should be able to find somecases of speciation in the fossil record, with one line of descent dividinginto two or more. And we should be able to find new species forming inthe wild.” Furthermore, “we should be able to find examples of speciesthat link together major groups suspected to have common ancestry, like birds with reptiles and fish with amphibians.” Finally, there are facts that“make sense only in light of the theory of evolution” but do not makesense in the light of creation or design. These include “patterns of species distribution on the earth’s surface, peculiarities of howorganisms develop from embryos, and the existence of vestigial featuresthat are of no apparent use.” Coyne concludes his introduction with the bold statement that “all the evidence—both old and new—leadsineluctably to the conclusion that evolution is true.”
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Of course, “evolution” is undeniably true if it means simply thatexisting species can change in minor ways over time, or that manyspecies living today did not exist in the past. But Darwin’s claim that allspecies are modified descendants of a common ancestor, and Coyne’sclaim that DNA mutations and natural selection have produced thosemodifications, are not so undeniably true. Coyne devotes the remainder of his book to providing evidence for them.FossilsCoyne turns first to the fossil record. “We should be able,” hewrites, “to find some evidence for evolutionary change in the fossilrecord. The deepest (and oldest) layers of rock would contain the fossilsof more primitive species, and some fossils should become morecomplex as the layers of rock become younger, with organismsresembling present-day species found in the most recent layers. And weshould be able to see some species changing over time, forming lineages
 
showing ‘descent with modification’ (adaptation).” In particular, “later species should have traits that make them look like the descendants of earlier ones.”
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In
The Origin of Species
, Charles Darwin acknowledged that thefossil record presented difficulties for his theory. “By the theory of natural selection,” he wrote, “all living species have been connectedwith the parent-species of each genus, by differences not greater than wesee between the natural and domestic varieties of the same species at the present day.” Thus in the past “the number of intermediate andtransitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have beeninconceivably great.” But Darwin knew that the major animal groups— which modern biologists call “phyla”—appeared fully formed in whatwere at the time the earliest known fossil-bearing rocks, depositedduring a geological period known as the Cambrian. He considered this a“serious” difficulty for his theory, since “if the theory be true, it isindisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed… and that during these vast periods the world swarmedwith living creatures.” And “to the question why we do not find richfossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.” So “the caseat present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a validargument against the views here entertained.”
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Darwin defended his theory by citing the imperfection of thegeological record. In particular, he argued that Precambrian fossils had been destroyed by heat, pressure, and erosion. Some of Darwin’smodern followers have likewise argued that Precambrian fossils existed but were later destroyed, or that Precambrian organisms were too smallor too soft to have fossilized in the first place. Since 1859, however, paleontologists have discovered many Precambrian fossils, many of them microscopic or soft-bodied. As American paleobiologist WilliamSchopf wrote in 1994, “The long-held notion that Precambrianorganisms must have been too small or too delicate to have been preserved in geological materials… [is] now recognized as incorrect.” If anything, the abrupt appearance of the major animal phyla about 540million years ago—which modern biologists call “the Cambrianexplosion” or “biology’s Big Bang”—is better documented now than in

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